The COVID-19 virus has pretty much brought all things to its knees, and education is no exception. Nigeria was just one such country that was forced to rethink its concept of education and make it more accessible while also reducing the risk of spreading the virus. However, Nigeria has yet to fully embrace e-learning as an alternative to in-classroom learning due to a number of factors, such as poverty. The passion for learning is there, but as the country currently stands, Nigeria is, unfortunately, still left in the dust.
An Overview of E-Learning
E-learning, also referred to as online learning or virtual learning, is an alternative that offers students the ability to learn without being physically present in a classroom. E-learning is often free or inexpensive, and it allows even the busiest worker a chance to study and potentially further their career by gaining new qualifications.
With a stable internet connection and a smartphone, tablet, or computer, students are able to connect with teachers from anywhere in the world. As of right now, more schools are opening up online learning opportunities as a means of spreading knowledge while also flattening the curve.
The Rising Need for Alternative Learning Methods
The COVID-19 virus is the primary reason that countries everywhere have had to adopt new learning and teaching mechanisms. With no clear end in sight of the virus, educational institutions have learned to utilize the internet to maintain regular teaching sessions. And against all odds, students are learning just as effectively, if not better, through e-learning.
Nigerians were slapped with a self-isolation policy that forced everyone to quarantine at home until further notice. As such, the country’s educational system, which heavily relied on traditional in-class meetings, was forced to come up with a more high-tech learning system. Unfortunately, the current infrastructure in Nigeria has made it nearly impossible for the majority of students to rely on webinars and instant messaging with teachers and professors.
Has Nigeria Embraced E-Learning?
While e-learning is pretty much a given in the western world, Nigeria has yet to fully embrace its full potential. The main drawback is a lack of a reliable and affordable internet connection in most parts of the country.
Over half the population of Nigeria meets the UN’s definition of poverty—living on less than $1 a day. In a world where the internet has is practically a human right, Nigerians are left far behind. Without public Wi-Fi hotspots, connecting with the rest of the world is a luxury, and e-learning is simply out of the question for the majority of the country’s residents.
However, Nigerians are still able to attend classes without physically being inside of classrooms. National radio and TV hosted by educational institutions are able to deliver learning materials to students across the country.
What Benefits Has E-Learning Afforded Nigerians?
Prior to the pandemic, only one school in Nigeria could rightfully boast about offering internet-based education. During the pandemic, all private schools in the country achieved some level of online learning, either pure-online classes or a mix between in-class and virtual meetings.
Similar to other countries, Nigerian schools that have established online learning systems have found that it yields better results as students can learn at their own pace. Since very few institutional obstacles exist in terms of how teachers can fine-tune their syllabi, students can receive high-quality learning materials in the form of slideshows, videos, and e-books immediately.
What’s great about e-learning is how those who can afford internet and tuition are able to apply to learn in an international setting. Online college programs have become more affordable than ever, and people from all parts of the world are encouraged to apply. A majority of online learners are looking for ways to obtain credible degrees, like a BBA, to give them a fighting chance at becoming successful in various fields.
What the Future of E-Learning in Nigeria Looks Like
There’s no telling what the future holds for Nigeria in terms of its educational system, but there’s a clear-cut need for affordable, easily accessible internet in all parts of the country. But even with the infrastructure in place, teachers in rural areas would require training to make use of tools that the internet and computers can provide them.
As of right now, the unfortunate truth is that Nigeria’s future regarding the widespread implementation of e-learning is bleak at best. It’s not just a question of providing reliable, high-speed internet to all cities and townships—although the rising number of internet users in the country is promising—but also supplying uninterrupted electricity and making computers and smartphones more affordable.
Nigeria—a country that’s rich in crude oil, tin, natural gas, lead, and zinc—has fallen short concerning widespread e-learning. E-learning in Nigeria is a privilege that a tiny portion of the country can enjoy, but with a greater emphasis on the importance of education via an online system, the country just might have an unexpected brighter future.